Cuba poised to change the Law on Same-Sex Marriage

Cuba seems to be the next regime that is changing the law to allow gay marriage. Cuba’s president, Moguel Diaz-Canel, who took over from Raul Castro in April this year, claims the country has undergone a “massive thought evolution” and he may be right considering that after Fidel Castro’s successful revolution in 1959 the police began rounding up gay men as homosexuality flew in the face of the perception of hyper-masculine revolutionaries.  LGBT people were forced into “re-education camps”. Castro himself stated in an interview in 1965 “we would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant.” Worse was to follow when Aids reared its ugly head and HIV-positive Cubans were quarantined in sanatoriums, also known as “prisons”.  In 2010 when Castro was being interviewed by a Mexican newspaper he admitted that he was responsible for the sufferings of the LGBT community.

Cuba de-criminalised homosexuality in 1979 but some aspects were still left within the Cuban penal code, such as, that of publicly manifested homosexuality; meaning any demonstration of gay affection was outlawed.  Mr. Ciaz-Canel is dedicated to eliminating all types of discrimination and feels that recognising marriage as between two people as opposed to a between a man and a woman only, would be a step towards his discrimination free ideal. He stated during an interview with television station Telesur, “the approach of recognising marriage between two people, without limitations, responds to a problem of eliminating all types of discrimination in society”.  The new constitutional change will also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. 

community and attended Gay Pride in Havana and has had an influence, to a degree, in the government’s change of heart.  As part of Ms. Castro’s mission to improve LGBT Castro, Fidel Castro’s niece, who is a staunch supporter of the MarielaThe changes are, in part, driven by the lot of the Cuban people she is the director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education in Havana. Ms. Castro is not without her critics, some suggesting that she is simply aiding the current Government by providing good publicity.  

There is further opposition by the evangelical Christian churches in Cuba that arose during the 1990’s when the government relaxed its attitude towards religion.  Five evangelical churches expressed opposition to same-sex marriage because “the ideology of gender is totally foreign to Cuban culture or “the historic leaders of the Revolution.”  Similarly, the Catholic Archbishop Dionisio Garcia reminded Cubans not to "ignore what nature has given us" for fear of "regrettable consequences." The Archbishop further commented “the acceptance of same-sex marriage was "alien" to Cuban values”.   

There is unlikely that there will be agreement between the LGBT community and the Church in Cuba and it is unlikely that the Church will be able to stem the pace of change.  Cuba aims to be a country that provides a good environment for the LGBT community and will continue to improve the landscape for LGBT rights.

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